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Methuen, MA 01844
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Blog

The Journey to a Major Dental Problem

Family Dentist Services Methuen, MA Usually, situations in life do not jump from zero to mach-20 in an instant. Tooth decay is a prime example. While a lot of people do express surprise to the dentist when a severe toothache has developed overnight, the majority of situations related to tooth pain develop gradually. There is actually a process of decay that occurs in every case of tooth pain. Knowing what the individual steps are, how they may feel, and what can be done at that point to stop the process, empowers each of us to act on our own behalf. As a family dentist to individuals from Methuen and Windham, patient-empowerment is what we want!

How Tooth Decay Spreads

  • Initial demineralization. Tooth enamel relies on mineral-content in order to stay as resilient as necessary to bite and chew. The initial onset of decay occurs when minerals are depleted from enamel, which happens when there is too much acidity in a localized spot, usually the result of plaque. When demineralization occurs, slight sensitivity to hot and cold may develop. This may resolve with a standard professional cleaning, or may require the added protection of topical fluoride or dental sealants.
  • The cavity. A cavity occurs when the localized area of demineralization worsens into a small divot, or gouge in the softened surface of enamel. The worse the gouge becomes, the more sensitivity may occur. In addition to hot and cold, a tooth may react to certain foods, as well. The sooner this small area of decay can be removed and filled with a tooth-colored composite filling, the better.
  • Decayed dentin. There are several good reasons to have a cavity treated as quickly as possible. When decay penetrates the thickness of the hard outer shell of enamel, it meets much softer, more vulnerable dentin. Due to the softness of dentin, and its many tubules, bacteria are able to make their way more quickly through this matter and toward the center of the tooth. There is more extensive removal of material necessary when dentin decays, and a dental crown may be needed to restore optimal structure to the tooth.
  • Pulp infection. Can we just say . . ? You don’t want bacteria to invade the centermost part of your tooth. The pulp chamber is where the vessels and nerves and root of the tooth live. Here, right in the presence of nerves, inflammation will be difficult to ignore. This is usually when that severe toothache strikes by surprise. Pulp infection is typically treated with root canal therapy, and the tooth is restored with a dental crown.

Why wait for dental pain to tell you it’s time to see the dentist? Contact Kalil Dental Associates today.

Tips for Maximizing Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign  Methuen, MAIt is no secret that most people would prefer to avoid wearing braces. When tooth-colored brackets and wires were developed to improve the appearance of smiles-in-progress, it was believed that the problem people had with braces was solved. It wasn’t. We live in a time when convenience and discretion are expected. With Invisalign, patients get this and more.

Invisalign is a far cry from the braces of old. There is no frustration tied to oral care, or to eating. There are, however, steps that patients must follow if they want to achieve and maintain the desired outcome – a great smile. Here, we offer a few tips on how patients can get the most out of Invisalign treatment.

  1. Make flossing a habit. We assume all of our patients brush every day. We cannot assume the same of flossing. Most people skip this step in oral care, even though it takes less time than brushing. When Invisalign aligners are being worn, there is a greater risk of plaque buildup. Flossing is crucial to cavity and gingivitis prevention.
  2. Commit to regular wear. Invisalign is praised for being more comfortable than traditional braces, but that doesn’t mean there is no discomfort. For the first two days after a new set of aligners is inserted, teeth may feel sore. Because aligners can be removed, there is a strong temptation to do just that. Don’t. Ride out the strange sensations. They will subside more quickly if you do.
  3. Committing to regular wear also means wearing aligners twenty-two or more hours a day even when they don’t feel like they’re doing anything. It is important that, even during busy work days or social-event seasons, aligners remain in place for most of the hours in a day.
  4. Change aligners when needed. Typically, patients can expect to switch to a new set of aligners every two weeks. However, if your dentist advises you to remain in a current set of aligners for a few more days, do it. Treatment will not be accelerated by changing aligners too soon.
  5. Wear your retainer! The proper wear of a retainer is just as important as the entire Invisalign process. If teeth are not supported by this device, they will shift, and that is a frustrating consequence to live with.

Are you ready to start your Invisalign process? Call our Methuen or Windham office to schedule your consultation.

It’s Back to the Books! Here’s how to Care for Your Students’ Smiles!

Family DentistThere is something both exciting and slightly unsettling about the start of a new school year. Students and their parent have much more on their minds than taking care of teeth and gums. We know this, which is one reason we encourage families to come in for cleanings and exams during the summer months. Also, knowing how overwhelming a new school year can be, at least for a few weeks, we offer support in the form of tips and tricks for oral care.

  • Parents, regardless of your child’s age, you want to check in on their brushing habits from time to time. Even teens, in the hurry of a chaotic morning routine, can leave the house without brushing. Students don’t want to spend their day behind a wall of bad breath, nor would they be happy to need restorative dental treatment due to lack of consistent care. A reminder of the value of brushing and flossing can go a long way.
  • Take sports seriously. There is a difference between store-bought mouth guards and professionally-made pieces. Studies have shown that many boil-and-bite mouth guards inhibit free breathing, and athletes need to be able to breathe heavily during their events. Talk with your child’s dentist about a fitted mouth guard to prevent inconsistent wear, as well as oral injuries.
  • Get them gum. That’s right! Kids who chew xylitol gum are doing their teeth a favor. The act of chewing promotes saliva production, which keeps the moist mouth while also diluting sugar residue that can lead to tooth decay.
  • Pack the water bottle. If students can keep a water bottle nearby throughout the day, this should be an encouraged habit. Sipping on water inhibits dry mouth, bad breath, and the accumulation of unhealthy bacteria.
  • Schedule mid-year dental visits now. When dental care is scheduled ahead of time, there is less of a chance that these appointments may be forgotten. Twice-a-year visits are crucial to prevention.

Our Windham and Methuen family dental offices have convenient hours to serve you. Contact us for your visit with our friendly team.

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Oral Care

Family Dentist Services Methuen, MAExpectant mothers and new mothers have a lot to think about. So much, in fact, that dental care may be a thought that goes right out the window. Sometimes, mothers believe that dental visits could actually do more harm than good. We want to dispel this myth and provide clear information on how an expectant or new mother can ensure her oral health does not suffer during this eventful time in life.

Is it safe to see the dentist during pregnancy?

This is one misconception that could cause a great deal of problems for a woman who foregoes dental care because of it. The National Institutes of Health proposes that routine dental checkups and cleanings are advantageous for pregnant women, and even for women who are planning to become pregnant. Early and consistent care throughout pregnancy can offset the biological changes that occur throughout these nine months.

Specific Risks to Watch

The most common issue that expectant mothers face in terms of their oral health is gingivitis. The reason for this increased risk is that a rise in progesterone leads to heightened acidity in the mouth. The more acidic the mouth is, the more likely it is that inflammation will occur. Redness, bleeding when brushing or flossing, and bad breath are warning signs that dental care is needed as soon as possible. It isn’t that gingivitis is dangerous to mother or baby, but that early treatment for this condition can prevent unnecessary damage such as extensive gum recession.

That being said, gingivitis is progressive and will lead to gum disease if not treated. Gum disease has been identified as a risk factor for preterm birth as well as low birth weight.

Tooth decay is also a problem that may be encountered by pregnant and nursing mothers. During pregnancy, the risk of decay is related to oral acidity. Breastfeeding mothers, on the other hand, lose as much as 5% of their bone mass due to the calcium their baby is receiving.

Pregnant and nursing mothers need good self-care that includes regular visits to the dentist. Additionally, risks for tooth decay can be diminished with a quality calcium and vitamin D supplement.

We are committed to seeing our patients through the unique needs they meet as they go through life. Call our Methuen or Windham office for your visit with our friendly team.

When your Smile Needs More

Dental Implants Methuen, MATooth loss is a dental problem that dentists handle routinely. Adults of all ages, and even teens may lose a tooth due to a sporting injury or even to gum disease. As much as possible, we try to mitigate the risks of tooth loss with preventive dental checkups and cleanings. In some instances, though, it is necessary to discuss more extensive restoration. Full arch tooth replacement is not as common as it used to be, thank goodness; but when the need is presented to us, we know how to approach it for the best possible outcome.

What is Full Arch Replacement?

The upper and lower rows of teeth are referred to as arches. Some patients require rehabilitation of an arch due to the effects of gum disease or other serious conditions. Teeth are typically not “lost,” but removed in a precise extraction procedure. When this happens, it may be possible to immediately insert the small metal implant posts into place. These posts must remain covered by gum tissue for several months to fully integrate into the jawbone. However, during this time, chewing is facilitated with a comfortable, removable denture. Ultimately, full arch tooth replacement may involve approximately four dental implants and a final denture that rests on top.

Why Patients Choose Implant-Retained Full Arch Fixtures

The steepest consequence of losing an arch of natural teeth is that an inappropriate replacement can lead to speaking and chewing difficulties. The placement of implants is intended to prevent these problems. The final denture is affixed to the top portion of implant posts, which creates optimal stability. No slipping or falling out. No dentures were rubbing against the gums. Just good old-fashioned functionality just like you would expect from natural teeth.

Stability is the primary benefit to implant retention. Full arch treatment with implants also achieves objectives including:

  • Minimal disruption to gum and bone tissue.
  • Ongoing support for bone regeneration via stimulation that transfers through implant posts.
  • The permanent function is possible with good oral care to prevent periodontal disease.

Regardless of tooth loss or the reason for it, we all deserve to have something to smile about. To get help for your smile, call our Windham or Methuen office.

When a Refresher is in Order

When a Refresher is in Order | Kalil Dental Associates | Methuen, MABad Breath

Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, is a problem that is more common than you may think. Unfortunately, it is also a problem that may take a while to become obvious to the person affected. If you have the tiniest suspicion that your breath may be taking a turn toward the dark side, there are steps you can take now to avoid bigger consequences.

Often, the culprit behind bad breath is hygiene. Most of us think we take good care of our teeth because we brush every day. This is not enough. Brushing is something to do with care, and for two full minutes, morning and night. Bad breath may come from bacteria in between teeth and on the back of the tongue. These areas must also be cleaned during daily oral care. Floss in between all teeth, and then use a tongue cleaner to scrape bacteria from that surface. If ramping up your hygiene does not resolve halitosis, there may be something else going on in your mouth.

Fixing the Problem

  • Do you wear dentures? It is possible that bacteria have accumulated on hidden surfaces. First, try soaking your fixtures in an appropriate antibacterial cleaner. Brush them with a soft-bristled brush and your denture cleaner (NO toothpaste!). Always clean dentures gently and over a soft surface, such as a towel, to avoid damage. Finally, see your dentist regularly for relining. When dentures do not fit well, there is a greater risk of bad breath, among other problems.
  • Do you have dry mouth? The soft tissues in the mouth need moisture. Saliva helps break down food for digestion, and it also dilutes residue and bacterial acidity that can lead to problems including tooth decay and bad breath. If sipping water frequently does not provide adequate moisture, talk with your dentist. Treatment for dry mouth can restore freshness and also reduce risk.
  • Do you have red, swollen gums? Redness and swelling are indicators of gum disease. One of the first symptoms of early gum disease, gingivitis, is bad breath. The sooner that care for an oral infection like gingivitis can be obtained, the lower the risk of long-term issues.

We are here to support you in maintaining oral health. Schedule your visit today.

 

Planning a Summertime Get Together? Remember This!

dental careThe warm summer months remind us of the beauty of human connection. Weather beckons us outdoors, where we can picnic or relax beneath the stars during a dinner party with close friends and family. As you prepare meals for such gatherings, you can maximize both flavors and health-giving benefits by choosing foods carefully.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables

One of the cornerstones of just about every party is the plate filled with raw fruits and vegetables. These foods aren’t just good for the waistline; they also promote a healthy mouth. The crunchiness of vegetables like celery and cauliflower cleanse the teeth. High-water foods such as pears, apples, cucumbers, and watermelon stimulate the flow of saliva, which is beneficial for acid-reduction.

Other foods that are tooth-friendly include . . .

Pineapples are healing to the mouth and the body due to their vitamin C and K content. If it is a whiter smile you’d like, stock up on strawberries this summer. This sweet fruit is loaded with malic acid, which has been said to brighten up enamel. To build strong enamel, add a cheese plate to your summer festivities. The casein protein in dairy is associated with strong teeth and bones.

What to Drink

Does having a healthy, bright smile mean that you have to shun all beverages but water during your dinner parties and any other time? Not necessarily. There are some things you should know, though. Many of the beverages that we use to quench thirst are highly acidic. This is particularly troubling when it comes to children whose teeth are still developing. Acidic beverages such as sports and energy drinks increase the risk of erosion, which can lead to cavities as well as discoloration. Bottled, carbonated water is even strongly acidic to teeth.

If you do consume soda, alcohol, tea, coffee, or carbonated beverages, you can minimize their impact by swishing fresh water around the mouth.

Want to Treat your Guests?

If you are one to throw the party of the season, you no doubt think of ways to wow your guests. One way to do this is to offer dental items such as wine wipes or personal flossers in a small basket set in the guest bathroom. Other luxuries may include lip balm and travel sized toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Hosting parties is fun any time of year. We hope these tips help you make the most of your festivities.

 

 

Is your Jaw Talking to you?

TMJTMJ disorder is an oral condition that more people hear about these days. Just hearing the term, though, doesn’t equate to understanding how to recognize the signs of a problem in the jaw, or knowing what to do about it. We want to dive into this topic so you can better interpret what your jaw may be telling you.

What is TMJ disorder?

When the jaws that operate the movement of the lower mandible do not work properly, the term TMJ may be used to describe such a situation. TMJs are the joints that make chewing possible. They are called TMJs because, well, no one wants to say temporomandibular joints if they can help it! More often than not, these joints work just fine in conjunction with their cohorts, the ligaments and muscles of the jaw. Sometimes, though, too much stress is applied to this network, and the jaw starts talking; and by that, we mean that unpleasant symptoms arise.

Signs of TMJ Disorder

There are several telltale signs that the jaw is in a bit of distress. TMJ disorder is not necessarily a serious condition, but it is not one that you want to ignore, either. Depending on the degree of dysfunction, symptoms may become distracting.

  • Chronic headaches and migraines may stem from TMJ disorder.
  • Teeth may become overly sensitive and painful.
  • Jaw stiffness may range from mild to locked in place, lockjaw.
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears may occur, or ear pain.
  • The jaw may feel sore or tender or may become swollen.
  • Chewing may elicit loud clicking or pop noise.

TMJ Treatment

Fortunately, many people with symptoms of TMJ disorder find relief in conservative care. If it is determined that grinding and clenching occur, a night guard oral appliance may be worn to reduce the extensive stress on the jaw and oral structures. Because grinding and clenching are stress-related habits, patients may also relieve symptoms by implementing activities that reduce stress into their daily life. Finally, oral appliances are available to encourage proper jaw positioning.

Conservative care is the first line of defense against TMJ disorder, but not the only option. In severe cases that do not resolve with oral therapies, a minor, outpatient surgery may be performed to eliminate scar tissue and reduce inflammation.

Help is available for TMJ disorder. Learn more in our Methuen or Windham office.

 

 

What Do We Do During Your Professional Cleanings

family dentistrySome people scoff at the idea of a “professional cleaning” thinking they can do all the same stuff at home, so why to waste time and money on the dentist. But our professional cleanings and exams at Kalil & Kress are so professional; they should probably have an agent. What we do in these twice-yearly events is far beyond anything you can do at home.

In short, skipping twice-yearly exams and cleanings with the Kalil & Kress team may save you a few bucks today, but it will surely cost you thousands down the road.

Our professional cleanings and exams are critical parts of your oral hygiene regimen. Here’s what we do.

What is involved in the exam?

This is what Drs. Kalil and Kress are looking for when you come in twice each year.

  • Diagnostic dental x-rays— X-rays are crucial in detecting some hygiene issues: decay, possible tumors, cysts, and bone loss. We also use x-rays to check the position and alignment of each tooth.
  • Evaluation of your gums— This is the time we look for signs of periodontitis, gum disease.
  • Oral cancer screening— We check your gums, tissues, throat, tongue, lips, face, and neck for signs of oral cancer. See, Dr. Kalil doesn’t just pull on your tongue for fun.
  • Examination for decay— In addition to x-rays, Drs. Kalil and Kress use visual clues to check for the beginnings of decay on your teeth.
  • Examination of your dental restorations— We’ll check any prosthetics such as bridges or crowns, along with fillings, veneers, bonding, and the like.

How is the cleaning different than what I do at home?

While your home hygiene is crucial to a healthy mouth, it can’t match the power of our professional cleanings. These are called prophylaxis because we would like to use that word in Scrabble. That’s the clinical name. The reason we schedule these twice a year is simple — that’s how long it takes enough plaque to harden into tartar to create a situation that needs to be removed. If you leave tartar on your teeth to expand and creep under your gumline, that’s the start of gum disease. Here’s what we do in our cleanings:

  • Calculus (tartar) removal— Calculus in high school or college was a class many wish they could have removed. Calculus on your teeth needs removing, too. Calculus is the clinical name for the plaque that has hardened onto your teeth. Plaque is always on there, waiting for you to brush and floss it away every day. But over time some areas tend to form tartar, areas such as the inside of your front bottom teeth. You can’t remove tartar at home; we have to chip and break it off with our trusty dental picks.
  • Plaque removal— This sticky, invisible substance forms on your teeth all the time. Along with saliva, food debris and bacteria hang around in plaque. You remove it at home, but we remove every bit of it when we professionally clean.
  • Teeth are polishing— The gritty tooth-cleaning paste we apply with our spinning brushes polishes away any remaining plaque and the lighter stains on your enamel.

Now, do you see why we want to see you twice a year for this stuff? Call the team at Kalil & Kress, 603-880-7004, for your next appointment.

 

 

Cosmetic Dentistry Revolves around your Objectives

Cosmetic DentistryKalil Dental Associates enjoys serving patients from Windham, Methuen, and surrounding areas with the quality dental care we would want for ourselves. Part of the joy of dentistry comes from seeing the difference a healthy, attractive smile can make on a personal and professional level. If you have been thinking about improving the appearance of your teeth, we are here to support you with the treatment you need.

Cosmetic dentistry is not a formal specialty. Dentists who conduct smile-enhancing treatments have obtained additional training beyond dental school. The techniques that are learned center on specific goals, such as drawing out natural beauty through the proper use of high-quality materials.

Various Paths to the Same Goal

Ultimately, the objective of cosmetic dentistry is to make the smile look as attractive as the patient desires. This doesn’t mean a full smile makeover in every situation. Often, it is just one or two treatments that attain the desired outcome.

  • Teeth whitening. We have moved beyond the days of home whitening kits. Today, patients may choose this option, or they may choose to undergo professional teeth whitening in the dental office. In cases of severe discoloration, a combination of the two may be planned.
  • Porcelain veneers. From tough stains to a turned tooth to a problematic gap, porcelain veneers have been used for just about every cosmetic smile problem there is. In less than a month, it is possible to have a great new smile.
  • Dental bonding. This veneer treatment differs from porcelain veneers in performance and materials. Dental bonding may be performed to cover a small flaw or area of damage, such as a chip. The ceramic that is applied and shaped to perfection is immediately cured to remain in place for years with good care.
  • Gum contouring. This laser gum treatment enhances the smile by balancing the gum-to-tooth ratio. Soft tissue dental lasers are a safe, precise way to bring out your inner beauty.

Dental care for your Unique Needs

We find cosmetic dentistry to be a fun and exciting area of practice. To learn more about how treatments can be tailored to meet your needs, call our Methuen or Windham office.